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Dungeons And Dragons In The ESL classroom

  • Dem N

    Ok, sounds great, but if you could add a few basic details, it would be easier to use this advice. What was your class size, what ages were they, what level, and were they all similar ability? I have some classes of very mixed abilities and interests, and it radically changes what I can achieve. I’ve played DnD with moderate success with small classes, mainly boys, about 12-14yo. More than 6 in a class leads to problems, and 9 is a disaster.

  • My classes were generally groups of 30, it was a while since I did this but I believe I split them into groups of 5. However for most of it you aren’t actually playing the game. The creation of the character sheet takes up quite a few classes. I had to adjust the lessons for each grade appropriately. When it comes to actually playing the game you have to make a situation where they can creatively use vocab you have taught them that week. For instance if you have been teaching them about jobs you can have a fire in the town. Oh someone please get the fireman. Who was hurt? Oh well we need a doctor, the doctor wants us to find the victims wife. His wife is a baker. Hope this helps!

    If you are having trouble controlling your class I recommend making a head of each group who is in charge of keeping them under control. Try and pick the more confident and respected kids for this roll since introverts will resent being picked and won’t hae the authority to handle them. Remember to continuously reward well behaving kids and accept that the first session will always be rocky.

  • If I created some PPTs based on this and shared them would you be interested?

  • Dem N

    absolutely, very interested. Thankyou 😉

  • Dem N

    Wow, great answer. I’d be curious, briefly, if you could say how you handled the large number of groups. Does each group do its own dice rolls, and do you structure it so that they are all at the same point? Or does each class make its own different choices (so each group evolves very differently)?

  • Alright I will get on that for you 🙂

  • Well, I have the groups split up with a member marking down whats happeing. Then when everyone is ready I have a player from each group summarise what had happened so far so that they would practice their speaking. The groups can evolve differently but I had certain milestones that signalled where to pause. When they reached them I would come over and give them the okay to continue and pick the next person who wanted to do the summary.

    I also do this in conjuction with a points system so well behaving groups who made lots of progress were getting tickets for being ahead of the curve so it was in their best interest to stay quiet. It also helps to put the tables together but widely separate each table so that the noise from one table does not disturb the others. I find staring intently from your teacher perch at loud individuals without saying anything will make them quiet down.

    The most vital part I found was giving everyone in the group a role and holding them too it. You have to reward them for it too. For example one person might just write down numbers while another records choices. Let them record it in their native tongue but get them to try saying it in English. This helps them come up with more creative ways to communicate. Have the most confident speaker do the summary so that less confident kids don’t get stage fright in front of their class. Near the end of the class you can also award groups based on their progress or most creative solutions. Works best if you get everyone to vote.

    Each campaign I do with them is usually a one shot

  • Dem N

    Thanks, very helpful reply. Sounds like your lessons would be kinda awesome. What ages were they? This is in China, right? And about 30 ss? Was this at a school, rather than a tuition centre? Wow, I don’t get lessons like this happening.

  • I teach students ages from 6 to 16 since my school is connected with the University. I’m teaching the teacher’s students you see. The trick to pulling this off is introducing it slowly over a number of lesson plan. I’m preparing a guide for you as we speak but here is a little example.

    So if you have a young class you can break the concepts down nice a small. The more difficult the class is to handle the smaller the parts you break it into. So how about this, you goal is to introduce the dungeons and dragons races to your students. We can make several lessons out of this. Let’s say we are introducing Dwarf, Tabaxi, Elf, Kenku, Goblin, Orc, and humans!

    Start off with teaching them body parts, this will help them later to describe the elves pointy ears or the orcs teeth. You can use another lesson to teach them tall and short and fat etc. Then move on to animals and after you have taught a few teach them some animal body parts. If they are really young you can throw in a lesson on colours and numbers. Now put it all together. You can create a ppt using your dungeons and dragons characters. Have your students describe them. You can even add mythological creatures to it like dragons and test their vocab. While giving them the test teach them the names of the races.

    If you make goals in your head like this you can really push them forward. It takes some preparation but it can give you a sense of direction and offers a unique classroom experience. Always find ways to make mundane vocab (heads, shoulders knees and toes) more exciting (The head of an arrow, the neck of a bottle, the toes of a dragon). Approach the subject with the energy and passion you have for dungeons and dragons and you shall infect your students with it! 🙂

  • Dem N

    Hey, that’s really interesting (sorry i didn’t get back to you earlier, but i was tied up). I’m thinking of starting this with one of my weekend classes (they insist on playing games, but are relatively settled and quite manageable). Thanks for all the feedback, let me know if you have any of those lesson ideas/materials, terrific help, thankyou.

  • Currently working on an article about priming your classroom for D&D. Figured it would be faster and more efficient to teach a man to fish rather than give a man a fish. If you want feel free to join our discord, it’s new and small but I’ll happily bounce ideas around with you in the morning.

  • Dem N

    Cool, “Give a man a fish, feed a man for a day. Teach a man how to sneak into the bar and get the pizzas before the customers arrive … priceless.”

  • “Give a man a fire, he’s warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he’s warm for the rest of his life”

  • Dem N

    ha ha, i should read terry pratchett more … burn!